Hey Fellow Pastors,
It’s pretty trendy these days to bust on video games from the pulpit. Everybody does it. You make a few comments about the lack of true men these days, talk about guys living in their mom’s basement, then tell them to put down the video games and man up. And you usually throw in a few comments about pornography, and how the two are somehow tied together.
I get what you’re trying to do, I really do. I too want to see the young men of my generation rise up and be true men of God. I want to see my generation kick butt and take names for the kingdom of God. I’m tired of young guys putting off adulthood indefinitely. But can I ask a favor? Could you stop busting on video games from the pulpit?
See, here’s the thing: video games aren’t really the problem. I know you know this, but I feel like I should mention it again. Playing a marathon session of Call of Duty is a symptom of the deeper problem, which is laziness and an abdication of responsibility. The problem is a heart problem, not a screen problem. This isn’t a new problem. Men of every generation have given more attention to their hobbies than the things that truly matter. If it’s not video games it’s hunting, or cars, or sports, or fantasy football, or the newspaper, or the bar. If you’re going to call out the video gamers, I would also suggest that you call out the older guys who devote their time to watching sports or tinkering in their garage, rather than engaging with their families.
The problem is, when you attach a moral value to a particular activity not specified in scripture, you place a burden upon people. You’re calling them to give up something that may not necessarily be sin. The Holy Spirit gives power to overcome sin, not hobbies (unless those hobbies are sinful). Video games aren’t inherently sinful. Of course, they can become an idol, but so can Pilates and working out and health food.
So let me encourage you to challenge the young men in a different way. Instead of throwing low blows at video games, challenge the guys to make the kingdom of God the absolute center of their lives. Challenge them to put to death laziness, to read their Bibles, and to serve their butts off in church. Challenge them to pray for a godly wife. Challenge them to punch a hole in their computer if it’s leading them into porn. Challenge them to do great things for the kingdom of God.
When young man’s life revolves around Jesus, video games fall into their rightful place – a gift from God to be enjoyed. If you simply tell them to stop playing video games, they’ll quickly replace that hobby with something else, like movies. So as a fellow pastor and video gamer myself, let’s help the young men in our church rise up to do great things for God.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish up my season in MLB 11.
+photo by See El Photo